Yes, we’ve all heard it: “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” It’s true, though, that kids and adults need a good breakfast to start out, giving the body and brain the fuel it needs to take on the challenges the day brings. Kids who eat breakfast are less likely to develop diabetes or become obese. The list goes on. But if you’re like me (the anti-“Morning Person”) or just don’t have the time to cook a big breakfast, these easy recipes for on-the-go breakfasts will revolutionize your AM. Say goodbye to cereal!
1. Dressed-up Yogurt. All it takes is some yogurt and toppings: cereal, granola, fruit, jam, toasted nuts, honey, whatever. Yogurt (try to make sure it’s not the fatty and ultra-sugary kind, stick to Greek-style yogurt, or unflavored) is great for you, providing calcium and lots of other things. Jazz it up by mixing in other things, especially granola, which lends a satisfying crunch as well as fiber.
2. Breakfast Quesadilla. Who doesn’t love apples and cheese? If you have five minutes, you can make this super-easy, super-tasty dish. All you need are some apple slices, shredded Cheddar cheese, and flour tortillas. Fill the tortillas with the cheese and apples and toast lightly on each side, allowing the cheese to melt and apples to warm up. This recipe is nutritious (tons of calcium, protein, vitamins, and minerals), the cheese provides a satisfying dose of healthy fats, and it’s tasty!
3. Pizza Muffins. All you need are English muffins, some shredded cheese, and tomato sauce (plus any other ingredients you have lying around). Let the kids assemble their own, per their preferences, and pop them into the toaster oven or broiler. Your kids will love them, and they’ll give them plenty of nutrition and energy for the day ahead.
4. Smoothies. If you own a blender, it’s your ticket to great simple breakfasts and snacks. Make sure to keep milk, yogurt, fruit, and other ingredients on hand. It’s amazing how many combinations you can make. Our favorite? The orange dreamsicle smoothie: orange juice, vanilla yogurt, honey, and granola.
5. Pita Pockets. Pita bread is versatile, tasty, and good for you. If you’re crunched on time, grab a couple of pitas and stuff them with whatever you have on hand. My favorite is ham or sliced turkey, Swiss cheese, cucumber, lettuce, tomato, and dijon mustard. Or, if you have time, pile in some scrambled eggs, bacon, cheese, ham, veggies…the possibilities are endless. Pitas fit the hand easily and make a great breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
6. Homemade Toaster Pastries. Yes, we all guiltily love those toaster pastries sold in the stores, but they’re loaded with preservatives, fats, and sugar. Did you know, you can make your own at home? Just take two slices of bread, cut off the crusts, and sandwich your preferred fillings between them. Then, using a fork, press the edges of the slices of bread together, like crimping a pie crust, and pop it into the toaster. Peanut butter and jelly, jam and butter, brown sugar and raisins, the sky’s the limit. Helpful hint: use a toaster with the extra-wide slots, which are usually designated as for bagels.
7. Quiche Muffins. Quiche is basically scrambled eggs and other stuff, in a pie-like form. You can make your own mini-quiches by combining beaten eggs and your choice of ingredients (ham, veggies, spices, cheeses, etc.) in a greased muffin tin until the tops are golden and the centers set.
8. Breakfast Crostini Sandwiches. If you have access to fresh-baked, crusty French bread, then make use of it. A loaf of bread, split lengthwise, becomes a blank palette for culinary experimentation. Butter, jam, cream cheese, shredded cheeses, sliced meats, fruit, honey, whatever you like–it can be layered or smeared, popped into the oven, and become a fantastic, filling, and tasty breakfast.
9. Hot Cereal. Whether you prefer oatmeal, grits, Cream of Wheat, or something else, hot cereal is filling and satisfying. Take your favorite hot cereal and get creative: oatmeal with raisins, brown sugar, and cinnamon is fantastic. Grits with shredded cheese and butter is amazing. Cream of wheat with strawberry jam and granola is awesome. All of these cereals are available in “instant” (meaning, boil water or microwave first) varieties, so add some nutrition and flavor by being inventive.